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Last Updated: Saturday, 5 February, 2005, 09:50 GMT
Yemen raises al-Qaeda sentences
Defendant Fawaz Yehya al-Rabeei, a Yemeni national born in Saudi Arabia, speaks during  Yemen's terror trials
The militants say they had 'promised' Bin Laden to kill Americans
A Yemeni appeals court has sentenced to death the leader of a group of 15 men accused of bombing a French oil tanker and other attacks on Western targets.

Al-Qaeda suspect Fawaz al-Rabeei, who had "pledged" to kill Americans, was originally given a 10-year jail term for killing a Yemeni policeman.

The judges upheld another death sentence and raised from 10 to 15 years the jail terms for two of the suspects.

One member of the tanker Limburg's crew died in the attack in October 2002.

The tanker was carrying 400,000 barrels of crude oil when a blast ignited a fire on board badly damaging it and spilling 90,000 barrels of oil into the Gulf of Aden.

'God is Great!'

The court in Sanaa upheld jail terms ranging from three to 10 years for the other suspects on other activities, including a plot to kill the US ambassador to Yemen and attacks on Western embassies.

One of the men was found guilty of involvement in an attack on a helicopter carrying Texas-based Hunt Oil employees and detonating explosives at a civil aviation authority building.

We had given our pledge to Sheikh Osama [Bin Laden] to kill Americans
Fawaz al-Rabeei

"God is great, there is no god but God and America is the enemy of God," the men shouted after sentencing.

"[We] were very close to Sheikh Osama Bin Laden... We had given our pledge to Sheikh Osama to kill Americans," Rabeei said in his final statement to the court in December, Reuters news agency reported.

It was not clear if the men would go to Yemen's High Court, which can overturn the rulings.


SEE ALSO:
Yemenis sentenced over bombing
08 Feb 05 |  In Depth
Yemen ship attack 'was terrorism'
13 Oct 02 |  Middle East
Yemen seizes al-Qaeda suspect
05 Apr 03 |  Middle East



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